Can I keep the Company IPad? -as published on settlementagreement.co.uk
Q: I’ve agreed with my boss I can keep the company ipad and mobile but I can’t see anything about this in the draft settlement agreement. My boss has said its okay to leave these things outside the settlement agreement. Any advice?
Tina Wisener, partner at Doyle Clayton solicitors answers...
I would certainly not advise you to sign the settlement agreement and hold on to the company’s property if it does not expressly allow you to keep the company Ipad and mobile.
Employment contracts will often contain a term which requires an employee to return company property on termination of employment. A similar provision is commonly included in the settlement agreement itself. If this is the case and the settlement agreement does not expressly allow you to keep the company Ipad and mobile, you would be in breach of both your employment contract and the settlement agreement by retaining them. This has potentially serious consequences. Not only could your employer insist that you return the company property and bring legal proceedings to enforce this, your breach of the settlement agreement could, depending on the terms of the agreement, put some or all of your settlement monies at risk.
The settlement agreement may, for example, make the company’s obligation to pay the settlement monies conditional on your complying with all your obligations under the agreement. If the settlement agreement requires you to return all company property but you have retained the iPad and mobile, then the Company will not be obliged to make the payment.
Alternatively, the settlement agreement may contain a warranty that you have returned all company property or that you have complied with the terms of your employment contract (which would include any contractual obligation to return company property). There may also be a separate term which requires you to indemnify the company for any losses it incurs as a result of your breaching the settlement terms. This means that you could be required to pay the company a sum representing the cost of the laptop and mobile if you have breached the terms of the settlement agreement by not returning the company property.
Whilst you might be able to argue that your boss agreed that you could keep the laptop and mobile, this will be particularly difficult if the settlement agreement contains another common provision known as “an entire agreement clause”. The inclusion of such a clause means that you and your employer are agreeing that all the settlement terms you have agreed are included in the written settlement agreement itself. This may prevent you from relying on your oral agreement with your boss that you could keep the company iPad and mobile.
Even if the agreement is changed so that it does expressly allow you to keep the iPad and mobile, you should ensure that all of your employer’s confidential information is permanently removed from them and get your employer to confirm, ideally in the settlement agreement, that they are content that this has been done correctly.
This article, written by Tina Wisener, was originally published on settlementagreement.co.uk at http://www.settlementagreement.co.uk/return-company-property/4586340613
The contents of this page are for guidance only and do not constitute legal advice. You should consult a solicitor without delay if you require legal advice on a particular employment matter.
The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.